ES Lifestyle newsletter

The coronavirus pandemic has meant many countries have been unable to welcome visitors.

Nevertheless, countries began to ease lockdown measures, and border restrictions a few months ago in preparation for the return of domestic and international tourists.

Travel restrictions and safety measures are constantly changing.

Here’s what we know so far about borders reopening across Europe and the rest of the world.

Which European countries have reopened their borders after lockdown?

Akrotiri and Dhekelia

This area in Cyprus is open for tourists and visitors do not need to quarantine on their return to England.

Andorra

The Foreign Office changed its advice for Andorra on August 8. UK visitors are now urged against all but essential travel to Andorra.

Austria

Cross-border travel has been allowed primarily with neighbouring countries from June 4. Borders opened with Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary on June 15. Austria also reopened its border with Italy from June 16. There are no restrictions now with most countries from the EU. As of August 22, travellers venturing to Austria from the UK are required to quarantine for two weeks upon their return.

Belgium

The Foreign Office changed its guidance on August 8 for Belgium, advising against all but essential travel to Belgium. Belgium has reopened its borders to travellers from the European Union, although those from high-risk countries must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s borders have been open since June 1 to EU countries, as well as the UK, San Marino, Andorra, Monaco, the Vatican, Serbia, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. Travellers from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and Ukraine are now allowed in too. Family members of Bulgarian citizens are also allowed to join. UK travellers have been allowed to enter the country without self-isolating since July 16.

Croatia

Since June 15, Croatia’s borders have been open to all EU countries – with no quarantine required. Parks, shops, museums, hotels and outdoor restaurants and bars are now open. Travellers from North Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia have had to quarantine since June 25. As of August 22, travellers venturing to Croatia from the UK are required to quarantine for two weeks upon their return.

Cyprus

Cyprus partially opened its borders on June 9, for people arriving in the country from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland. UK travellers are now also permitted to visit Cyprus, if they have proof of a negative coronavirus test taken in the previous three days.

A beach in Spain (Unsplash)

Czech Republic

Borders with Austria and Germany opened on June 5. Travellers from Slovakia, Hungary, Finland, Norway, and eastern and Baltic member states, can enter the country without restrictions. However, for other countries, including France, Italy, and Spain, a health certificate is required on entry. Travel restrictions for UK citizens have been lifted.

Denmark

Denmark’s borders have reopened to people from the UK, Norway, Switzerland and every EU country other than Sweden and Portugal, but the country has said this could change.

Estonia

Travellers from the EU, and the Schengen area, including the UK, are allowed to enter Estonia – although travel documents and medical symptoms are checked upon arrival. People from countries with high coronavirus infection rates are required to quarantine for two weeks. The UK added Estonia to its quarantine exemption list on July 28. The move means Brits can journey to the country without the need to quarantine when they land back in the UK.

France

As of August 22, travellers venturing to France from the UK are required to quarantine for two weeks upon their return.

Finland

People from Scandinavian and Baltic countries other than Sweden have been allowed into Finland since June 15. People coming from Sweden are still subject to border checks. Restrictions for people coming from Germany, Italy, Austria, Greece, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Ireland, Cyprus and Croatia are set to end on July 13. British people can go to Finland for work or other “essential” reasons.

A woman photographs under a blooming cherry tree in Kungstradgarden park (via REUTERS)

Germany

German borders reopened on June 15 for travellers from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and the UK. The country has said that people who travel outside the EU and come back to Germany must self-isolate for 14 days.

Greece

Tourists from EU countries have been allowed to enter Greece from June 15. UK travellers are now allowed to enter Greece, although they may be required to quarantine upon arrival until receiving a negative test result.

Hungary

Borders were open with the entire EU and European Economic Area (EEA; excluding the UK) since June 21. However, after global infections rose, Hungary re-imposed its border restrictions. Only Hungarians are now permitted to enter the country from nations with high infection rates, including Albania, Ukraine, Belarus, almost all of Asia, South and Central American, and Africa. Hungarians and foreigners from countries including the UK and the US are allowed to enter, but must quarantine for two weeks upon arrival unless they have proof of two negative coronavirus tests.

Iceland

The government re-opened its borders to EU and UK travellers on June 15 – although tourists are tested upon arrival. The test costs about £90, but children born in or after 2005 are exempt.

Ireland

Ireland requires everyone arriving in the country – except people from Northern Ireland – to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, including Irish residents.

Restaurants prepare to reopen in Italy (REUTERS)

Italy

Borders have reopened to tourists from the EU, UK, Schengen area, Andorra, Monaco, the Vatican City and San Marino on June 3. Travellers from these countries are not required to quarantine unless they have been in any other country in the 14 days before arriving in Italy. Italy has not opened its borders to other non-member states. Restaurants are allowed to sell takeaway food, parks are open; bars, restaurants, museums, and non-essential shops have reopened.

Latvia

Latvia has opened its borders to residents of EU and EEA countries, as well as Switzerland. Travellers are not required to quarantine if the country has had fewer than 15 coronavirus cases per 100,000 population over the previous 14 days. The UK added Latvia to its quarantine exemption list on July 28. The move means Brits can journey to the country without the need to quarantine when they land back in the UK.

Lithuania

Lithuania’s borders with EU, EEA, Switzerland and the UK are open – unless the country has had more than 25 cases per 100,000 population over the past 14 days. A 14-day isolation requirement has now been introduced for Lithuania’s nationals or residents arriving from 50 countries most affected by coronavirus including Sweden, Russia, Belarus, Portugal, and the US.

Luxembourg

Borders are open with Germany. Although travel has not been restricted with other European nations, travel from outside Europe is banned. However, the Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to Luxembourg.

Malta

Malta’s borders reopened from July 1 for Germany, Austria, Cyprus, Switzerland, the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia, Iceland, Slovakia, Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Israel, Latvia, Estonia, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Poland, Spain, Croatia, and Greece.

On July 15 the country lifted border restrictions for Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Monaco, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, San Marino, Slovenia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, the UK, Uruguay, and the Vatican City.

Netherlands

EU and British citizens can enter the Netherlands. Travellers from the UK are no longer asked to quarantine upon arrival.

Norway

Norway relaxed its borders on July 15, allowing people from the vast majority of European countries, including the UK, to travel to Norway without quarantining.

Poland

Borders for tourists from EU countries have opened from June 13 – with no quarantine required.

Portugal

Citizens of EU and Schengen area countries, including the UK, are allowed in the country, although they may be required to take a coronavirus test upon arrival. As of August 22, travellers venturing to Portugal from the UK are no longer required to quarantine for two weeks upon their return.

Russia

Russia grounded nearly all international flights in late March, but has begun restarting flights to Britain, Turkey and Tanzania on August 1.

Romania

Tourists from Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Croatia, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Hungary are permitted without needing to quarantine. People from other EU, EEA, and Schengen area countries are still required to quarantine upon arrival. Flights to countries including Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and the UK are still suspended.

Norway’s borders remain closed (Darya Tryfanava)

Slovakia

Slovakia has reopened its borders to Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland since June 10. Some outdoor markets, shops, outdoor sports venues, outdoor tourist attractions, museums, outdoor bars and restaurants, galleries are open. Public transport and taxis are operating. The UK added Slovakia to its quarantine exemption list on July 28. The move means Brits can journey to the country without the need to quarantine when they land back in the UK.

Slovenia

Slovenia has reopened its borders to people from a number of countries, including Austria, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro and Hungary. People from countries with high coronavirus levels are required to quarantine for two weeks. People may also be tested uprival. The UK added Slovenia to its quarantine exemption list on July 28. The move means Brits can journey to the country without the need to quarantine when they land back in the UK.

Spain

Spain has reopened its borders to all EU and Schengen area countries, and the UK. However, as of July 27, the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to Spain, and people are now required to quarantine upon returning to the UK.

Sweden

Borders are open to EU countries and UK nationals. Limited flights are also operating between Stockholm and London. As Sweden never went into full lockdown, shops, hotels, restaurants, bars, and some museums are open.

Switzerland

Border crossings to and from EU countries, the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are now permitted – without quarantine requirements.

The Algarve (Unsplash)

Turkey

Turkey has opened its border to foreign travellers, except from its land border with Iran. Health checks may be required upon arrival.

Which countries in the world can I travel to without quarantining?

The list consists of these countries and territories:

  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • San Marino
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Cuba
  • Curaçao
  • Dominica
  • Falkland Islands
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe
  • Jamaica
  • Martinique
  • South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Maarten
  • St Martin and St Barthélemy
  • St Pierre and Miquelon
  • St Vincent and The Grenadines
  • Australia
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • Cook Islands
  • Fiji
  • French Polynesia
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Macao
  • Malaysia
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Samoa
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Sri Lanka
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Wallis and Futuna
  • Reunion
  • St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • British Antarctic Territory

How long is the quarantine process?

If you travel to a country outside of the above list you will be expect to to quarantine, or self-isolate, for 14 days.